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Learning to survive on his own

Submitted by on Thursday, 28 January 2010 No Comment

He’s survived solo birthday parties.

He successfully navigated the 100th Day of School, even when a food he can’t eat made a surprise appearance. He told the substitute teacher, and the food disappeared quickly. I’m not sure it needed to¬† – it was a cracker that might or might not contain garlic and he’s not contact allergic to that – but it was good to see that the system worked.

And now Big Guy’s going out to dinner with friends. Or not out to dinner, as it turned out in this case.

The non-dining experience came last weekend, when Big Guy wound up playing at Best Friend’s house late in the day. Best Friend’s mom is aware of Big Guy’s allergies, and fruit is the only snack she serves when he’s around.

Supper time was closing in, though, and someone suggested getting Chinese food. When Big Guy told them he didn’t think he could eat Chinese, they changed plans and went to Burger King. Showing that no good deed goes unpunished, Burger King promptly screwed up Big Guy’s order, putting forbidden ketchup and mustard on the sandwich. At least he had his side of macaroni and cheese to fall back on.

“Was I right, Mom? I can’t eat Chinese, can I?”

You were right, I told him.

There’s only a slight chance that there’s going to be something on the menu that has neither garlic, peanut nor egg. And if by some miracle there is, there’s a big risk that someone would stick a spoon from the food you can’t eat into the food you can eat, which would mean that peanut, garlic or egg would wind up in something that’s “safe” for you. That’s why we always wash the dishes and scrub the counters immediately after Boots eats eggs, I said.

He still has a way to go on learning about cross-contamination. I’ve been explaining the concept a lot lately, as in “that’s why you can’t eat even plain M&Ms.” In time, he’ll learn to cross-examine waiters and dissect food labels as thoroughly as I do.

For now, though, I’m thrilled that he knows enough about his allergies to question a restaurant choice and that he’s outspoken enough to raise those questions to an adult.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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